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May 17, 2006 – Fujifilm’s researchers have been hard at work. Yesterday IBM announced that the two companies collaborated to create a data storage system that can hold the equivalent of text from 8 million books in a cartridge half the size of a VHS videocassette. Fujifilm helped create the magnetic tape inside the tiny cartridge.
This achievement gives Fujifilm and IBM the world record for data density on a linear magnetic tape. The dual-coat magnetic tape uses a barium-ferrite layer that allows increased data storage capacity.
"Greater data density and cartridge capacity enables [our customers] to store more data in less space, helping to keep magnetic tape as the most cost-effective form of data storage," said Cindy Grossman, vice president of IBM Tape Storage Systems, in yesterday’s release.
This storage system is used for more than just backing up photos from a computer. This type of cartridge could be used for backing up a hospital’s digital medical records, for example. The system that IBM and Fujifilm recently worked on can hold up to 8 terabytes, or 8 trillion bytes, of uncompressed data in a cartridge; that’s 6.67 billion bits per square inch! This is more than 15x the capacity of data storage products currently on the market.
The collaborative research was done at IBM’s San Jose, California lab. IBM’s Zurich lab is currently working on a method to accurately read the tiny bits on the tape. IBM expects its research to result in marketed products about five years from now.